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Don’t use “beta” as a scapegoat

These days it feels like everything is in beta stage forever. That’s a cop out. An interminable beta stage tells customers you’re not really committed to rolling out a finished product. It says, “Use this, but if it’s not perfect, it’s not our fault.”

Beta passes the buck to your customers. If you’re not confident enough about your release then how can you expect the public to be? Private betas are fine, public betas are bullshit. If it’s not good enough for public consumption don’t give it to the public to consume.

Don’t wait for your product to reach perfection. It’s not gonna happen. Take responsibility for what you’re releasing. Put it out and call it a release. Otherwise, you’re just making excuses.

Beta is Meaningless

Blame Google, et al, for causing problems like this. For now, users have been trained by the aggregate of developers to think “beta” doesn’t really mean anything.

—Mary Hodder, information architect and interaction designer (from The Definition of Beta)

All the Time

Is it just me, or are we all in beta, all the time?

—Jim Coudal, founder, Coudal Partners

We made Basecamp using the principles in this book. It combines all the tools teams need to get work done in a single, streamlined package. With Basecamp, everyone knows what to do, where things stand, and where to find things they need.